Ranchers Hope Livestock Guardian Dogs Can Protect Their Sheep And Goats From Predators

Using dogs to protect livestock is nothing new in other parts of the world, but Texans are just learning about the practice.

By Michael MarksMay 26, 2017 2:12 pm|

Texas sheep and goat ranchers lose between 10 and 20 percent of their animals each year to predators like coyotes, bobcats and feral hogs.

It’s an old problem, and to solve it, a group of ranchers is looking to an old solution: livestock guardian dogs. They’re common in other parts of the world, but not in Texas. Members of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service decided to test out the dogs for a year at ranches across the western part of the state.

“A lot of our sheep and goat ranchers [in Texas] feel like they have to do everything on their own and they can’t do it with trapping procedures or fencing procedures anymore, so they’re looking to livestock guardian dogs to help them,” says Reid Redden, an associate professor and state sheep and goat specialist who was involved in the study.

“My family started raising dogs in the early ‘90s and they’re the only reason my family still runs sheep and goats is because they couldn’t do it without them,” he says.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– Why livestock guardian dogs haven’t been used in Texas until now

– What qualities a good livestock guardian dog needs to have

– How the dogs in the study did

 

Written by Molly Smith.